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Muunsyr

New Around Here
Hi all,

I am hoping for a little discussion, and was definitely after a few different opinions after experiencing some difficulties. I am not so much after advice, as, at the end of the day, I know the decision is mine, and I have a little more research to do before I will be happy. Everyones feedback, comments or otherwise welcome.

First of all my setup.
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I have an ADSL2+ connection to the net currently via (my second) Netgear DG834G (wifi b/g, adsl2+ modem, router, 4x 10/100). This in turn is connected to an 8 port GbE switch (Netgear GS608 for ref.)
From here I have:
* My PC (wired, GbE),
* PC@TV (wired, GbE),
* Flatmates desktop (wired, GbE)
* and last but not least, my intel atom 330 DIY NAS (also GbE with lots of help gained from this site - thanks Tim)

Via Wifi, I have:
* My Mac,
* My other flatmates Mac,
* My first flatmates laptop,
* a Wii,
* and my Squeezebox (from here on, SB).
All are 802.11g apart from my Mac which is (Cough, cough, shame) a Macbook Air. I only mention this because it could would benefit from an upgrade to an 'n' router.

Next, my typical usage:
* NAS streams music to SB - daily
* 1 or 2 (at a time) of us stream music from NAS - bi-daily (as in every other day)
* we watch a tv episode/movie on NAS - twice daily
* music is transferred to/from NAS - bi-weekly
* video files transferred to/from NAS - 2x-3x per week
* online video streaming (about 350MB per half hour, it's unmetered :)) - 1x-2x week
* fluctuating p2p usage (anywhere from none for the week, to heavy connection for a week)
* general internet browsing, chatting, etc

Finally, the situation/s:
* I was working full time - i am a full time student again now (ie, low income)
* heavy p2p use tends to overload the modem/router such that the internet drops out (as do very hot days in summer - but I have no control of that)
* Video on NAS -> PC can be measured in seconds; NAS-> air in minutes :mad:
* if router crashes, SB stops playing music
* in the last couple of days, wifi part of router has become flaky. That is, the modem webpage and lights say that the wifi is all go, but the SSID does not appear. Then it does. Then the signal strength drops to 50%. Then it disappears again. Then it re-appears. Etc, etc. Needless to say, this is most annoying if one was hoping to listen to music. Meanwhile, the internet and network is fine on all wired pc's.

My next step will be to swap the wireless module from the old router to the new one (as luck would have it, they appear to be the same revision). The old modem only lost its ability to maintain a FAST internet connection (dropped to 1Mb from 13Mb over the period of two weeks). Assuming this fixes my wireless issues I am back to where I started. If it doesn't, I have a TP-Link access point which works perfectly well - and I have ports to spare - and when the modem loses the plot THE MUSIC WON'T STOP. But it will be another wall wart.

However I am sorely tempted to upgrade to 'n'. Currently, the ONLY benefit I am going to see is when transferring the odd video file to the Air. Although I tend to leave this until right before bed - or leaving for the bus to uni :rolleyes: - and as such I will FEEL the difference, even if it only saves me a minute or two. But if I am going to spend money on a router, surely it is better to spend a little more again and not put the modem and router in the same device as the wireless? I could also wire my SB (messy) and train myself to swap files when it is more convenient (groan) - but then I may as well not have a NAS and just use USB drives.

So there is my dilemma, getting worse as my modem does.
More devices:
+ more toys and geekiness
+ greater reliability
- more expensive (up front and to run)
- messier
Less devices:
+ cheaper
+ neater (also less geekiness)
- less reliable
- fewer toys, less geekiness

PS I am the sort of person that would like a 24 Gigabit smart switch just so that I can have lots of jacks to plug cables, lots of blinking little lights, and be able to say "I have a 24-port Gigabit switch". But I would also like an income that does not belong to a student.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
The newfound wireless flakiness could be caused by interference. Have you checked for new networks in your area and on the channel you use?

Given that you are a heavy P2P user are you sure the Internet speed drop isn't your ISP cranking down your bandwidth?

You are using a good amount of bandwidth through your wireless LAN, which is exactly what draft 11n provides (as long as you have a strong to medium signal).
But you'll need to upgrade your devices to get the full benefit. You also will probably want to have an 11g WLAN for the old devices so that you don't kill the throughput gain on draft 11n by running a mixed 11g/draft 11n network.

As far as separate or integrated devices, it's a matter of taste. You don't have to spend a lot of money for draft 11n now, but you will if you want modem+router+AP device. I'd get a cheap draft 11n wireless router and convert it to an AP to see if it will help.

BTW, even draft 11n will limit the throughput you get from your NAS. Typical draft 11n throughput is say, 60 - 80 Mbps which is only 8 - 10 MB/sec (that's Bytes). An Atom-based NAS via a gigabit connection can do 40 -50 MB. If you want fast file transfer, gigabit E is the only way to go.
 

Muunsyr

New Around Here
I am aware that 11n isn't going to match the wired Gb speeds, although I had forgotten that I would need a separate access point just for the old g devices in order for the n AP to operate at a significantly faster speed. Given this, I am inclined to wait for a time when I have more n devices in use (and are used in such a way that will make good use of the extra bandwidth). Who knows, by that time n might also be fully ratified :confused:

As for new wireless networks in the area, there are none that I have noticed. In fact, there appears to be a couple less in the immediate area. One of them is sharing the same channel, but it has been there longer than we have here (4.5 years) and have been happily co-sharing this frequency spectrum.

As a side note, in the past I have had a wireless bridge set up (11g again) with two directional antenna's and a house ~75m down and across the road (with the occasional tram passing between, line of sight). This worked well for about a year, sharing internet costs (ahem), and more importantly providing for a few late night lan sessions. Our neighbors have since moved elsewhere and I took the opportunity to use the the directional antenna to do a quick survey of visible SSID on our street. Without moving the antenna I picked up 27, and this is only in one direction.

Of course most of the reviews focus on models without a built in (ADSL) modem - can anyone tell me how a dumb modem in likely to hold up to many connections? Or is this entirely down to the router? As it is the lost internet connections that cause most of the interruptions to other services I am considering a separate modem and router. This way I can power off the modem without interrupting wireless - however, if the internet connection is dropped, is a separate router likely to need to be rebooted also?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Of course most of the reviews focus on models without a built in (ADSL) modem - can anyone tell me how a dumb modem in likely to hold up to many connections? Or is this entirely down to the router?
The number of simultaneous connections supported is a function of the routing code, not the modem. We test this and display the results in the "Number of Simultaneous Connections" router chart. Most new routers handle up to our test limit of 200.
 

Muunsyr

New Around Here
I had noticed that the chart topped out at 200. Do you have plans for increasing your test?

Does anyone know if an individual bit-torrent connection is seen by the router as a single connection? Specifically, I have had a rather high 'Global maximum number of connections' set in uTorrent - assuming uTorrent has 125 connections, does this mean the router has 125 connections? ie, are uTorrents connections the same type of connections as per your charts? If I am to understand correctly, browsing to a basic html website will open one connection and browsing to three separate websites in three separate tabs will open three connections? Having some embedded content in the website (like a picture hosted by imageshack) would cause yet another connection?

The reason I ask about these connection types is that while I have noticed (what I perhaps assume) the router to struggle during heavy p2p (eg, latest ubuntu release), it doesn't always fail. For some time now I have had my utorrent maximum connections set to 250 - perhaps setting it lower will cause fewer interuptions.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
The 200 connections is an IxChariot license limit. I can't increase it.

I doubt that that many connections is helping you with only 13 Mbps download. More is not always necessarily better.

are uTorrents connections the same type of connections as per your charts? Yes.

Most web pages you hit will open multiple connections due to ads, applets, etc. Basically, each server connection is a session / connection that the router's NAT engine must keep track of.
 

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